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296 THE GAY GENIUS
carrie4 back and buried in his ancestral place-—one of the cruellest
things a Chinese mind could conceive.
The man that Chang Chun hated most was of course Liu Anshih,
who had obstructed his pardon. A commissioner was sent far down,
south to execute Chen Yen, the personal secretary of the Empress!
Dowager, and Chang Chun asked him to go and see Liu Anshih, who
was then exiled in the south, and suggest to him that he commitw
suicide. Liu was known to be a good man, and the official refused
to do it. Defeated in his purpose, Chang Chun made a deal with a
local merchant, giving him an official post as tax collector and asking
in return that he go and murder Liu. This merchant was already on
his way, dashing in a hurry to carry out his murderous mission ancl
make sure that his victim had no time to escape. The family of Liu
had heard the news and were weeping, but Liu himself remained un-
perturbed and ate and drank as usual. About midnight the merchant
arrived, coughed up blood, and fell dead on the floor. Liu died lat^
a natural death.
In the dark picture of the persecution, the character of Fan Chunjen
stands out as a bright light. Su Tungpo had met Fan Chunjen, son of
the great premier, Fan Chungyen, very early in his life, when he and
his brother and father were stopping at Kiangling on their way to the
capital. They had always remained friends and respected each other.
But it was not the kind of intimate friendship that Su enjoyed with
the other Fan family, the family of Fan Chen and Fan Tsuyu. Fan.
had an unsullied official record, and as the great son of a great father,
was one of the two to receive the dying wishes of the Empress
Dowager. The young Emperor knew of his reputation, and so far h.€?
had been spared. In April, when Su Tungpo was exiled together with
thirty others, Fan Chunjen begged to resign. Upon .his insistence he
was allowed to retire to his home in a town near the capital. Chang
Chun wanted to have him exiled along with the rest.
"He is one of the group," Chang Chun said.
"Chunjen stands for the country only," said the Emperor. "He is
not one of the Yuanyu party; he only wants to resign."
"But the fact of his resigning in protest shows that he is one of the
party men," replied Chang Chun.
Fan did not remain at his- home long. The old premier Lu Tafang,
who had maintained a good administration even if he was not a great
leader, and who was now seventy years old and ill, had been living
in exile over a year. It was an inhuman thing to permit, by all Con-
fucian standards. Nobody dared to speak up for the old man, but
Fan did. His friends and relatives tried to dissuade him, but he said:
"Do I desire to go on a thousand-mile journey in exile when I am
nearing seventy and both my eyes are almost blind? But it is a thing